By Vishani Ragobeer
Works on the establishment of the new city, named Silica City, could commence soon as the government has already received overwhelming interest from potential investors.
This is according to President Dr Irfaan Ali. During his address at the Guyana Manufacturing & Services Association’s (GMSA) Annual Presentation of Awards ceremony on Friday night, the President assured the gathering of business people and officials that the establishment of Silica City was imminent.
“We are oversubscribed with investors who want to come in and build Silica City,” he revealed.
Since 2013, the establishment of Silica City has been floated by President Ali who was the Minister of Housing then. It was highlighted that this city could be located near the Linden/Soesdyke Highway in Guyana’s hilly, sand and clay region.
Just months after taking office in 2020, while he addressed the GMSA Awards ceremony that year, Dr. Ali announced that his government has intent on making this city a reality. Again on Friday, Dr. Ali emphasised that “it is coming.”
Importantly too, the Head of State used the upcoming establishment of Silica City to illustrate the “mind-blowing” business opportunities available. In doing so, he called on Guyanese business people to consider forming themselves into groups so that they can be more competitive.
“…If 10 small businesses can come together and take away 35 per cent or 30 per cent share in that market, aren’t they better off?
“… Sometimes, individually, we are satisfied with a small share… But it’s not about being satisfied with a small share, it is missing out on opportunities,” the President explained.
Presently, Guyana only has one city and that is Georgetown, which is the capital city and the country’s business and governance hub. And, countering the threat of rising sea levels and flooding on Guyana’s populated coast, was part of the initial thrust for the new city.
According to data modelling done by Climate Central, using the latest report of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), by 2030, Georgetown could be underwater. Importantly, Guyana’s city would be one of the only nine countries devastated in this manner by 2030.
Cognisant of this threat, Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh recently told the News Room that “technical works” were being done for Silica City.
Earlier this year, Dr. Ali had announced that the government was already in talks with urban and local planners for the development of the city. And he highlighted that there was wider development planned for the Linden/Soesdyke highway and the upper East Bank of Demerara (EBD).
And on Friday, the President urged young people specifically to begin thinking about novel and niche industries they would get involved with once this city is established.